istock_000006120375xsmallAs active individuals, we’ve often heard of the so-called stress response, our body’s ability to sharpen our senses and stimulate the nervous system as a response to imminent danger or peak performance demands. Stressful situations inspire us to perform amazing feats of physical and mental ability, but they can also become a habitual autonomic response that takes a toll on our bodies over time.

Most of us are quite familiar with the body’s reaction to stress. Our pulse quickens, we tense up, and our senses become razor-sharp in anticipation of real or imagined events that require immediate attention. When the exciting event is over, we relax, loosen our guard, and resume a normal state of awareness, allowing our systems the chance to recover from a hopefully short period of increased demand.

Most of the physical and mental stressors we burden ourselves with are manageable. As managers, we control the degree to which these events affect our body’s health and well-being, thereby lessening the burden on systematic functions. The body reacts to stress the same way each time, regardless of the degree of difficulty or magnitude of a stressful event. These seemingly simple reactions often go unnoticed and become habitual, taxing our vital organs when mental stress initiates a physical response.

Think about stressful situations you’ve encountered recently and the challenges you face every day. How often does your heart rate increase when driving through traffic, debating a point of contention, or when things just don’t go your way? Is anger, frustration, and emotional upset a component of your response to stressors like standing in line at the supermarket, managing the antics of unruly children, or debating finances with your spouse?

Learning how to handle these situations effectively determines the physical message you carry into synapses that impact nerves, muscles, and vital organs. Involving our emotions when dealing with problems can contribute to insomnia, obesity, nervous twitches, and weakened immunity that requires longer periods from which to recover.

We must be mindful of how we approach and manage stress to regulate our state of mind and maximize our health potential as we age. The increased risk of cardiovascular disease, physical pain and mental anguish can make us feel miserable. Identifying safe limits for stress and developing sensitivity to the signs that stress is impacting our minds and bodies are keys to better stress management.

The health professionals at The Specific Chiropractic Center would like to help. Please join us this week for an informative workshop on the most important factors regarding “Stress Management”. Our guest speakers will be discussing effective strategies for managing stress and improving both your potential and your capacity for better health. For more information, please consult our web site at http://thespecific.com/events/index.html for dates and times by location.

References

Jaffe-Gill, E., Segal, J., Ph.D., & Smith, M., M.A. (2008). Understanding stress. Helpguide.org. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm (April 12, 2009).